News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th March 2010

The Royal Opera House has announced its 2009/2010 season. Royal Opera highlights will include: the world premiere of Anna Nicole, libretto by Richard Thomas, music by Mark-Anthony Turnage, about the life of American glamour model Anna Nicole Smith, with Eva-Maria Westbroek, directed by Richard Jones; the British premiere of Agostino Steffani's Niobe, about a queen who offends the gods by her boasting and is visited by dire punishment, directed by Lukas Hemleb; and new productions of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, based on the true story of a young actress believed to have been poisoned by a rival, with Angela Gheorghiu, directed by David McVicar, Wagner's Tannhauser directed by Tim Albery, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride directed by Paul Curran, and Massenet's Cendrillon directed by Laurent Pelly; plus revivals of Cosi fan tutte, Don Pasquale, Hansel und Gretel, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflote, Aida, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Madama Butterfly, Werther, Macbeth, Tosca, Romeo et Juliette, Fidelio and Peter Grimes.

Royal Ballet highlights will include the world premieres of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, scenario by Nicholas Wright from Lewis Carroll's novel, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, a co-production with the National Ballet of Canada; and untitled short works by Kim Brandstrup and Wayne McGregor; plus revivals of Onegin, Sylvia, Cinderella, Giselle, Swan Lake, Manon, Peter And The Wolf, Les Patineurs, Tales Of Beatrix Potter, and mixed bills featuring works by Frederick Ashton, Georges Balanchine and Kenneth MacMillan. Further information about the opera and ballet seasons can be found on the ROH web site, via the link from London Venues, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Flashdance The Musical, book by Tom Hedley, book and lyrics by Robert Cary, music and lyrics by Robbie Roth, adapted from the 1983 film, about a welder and part time exotic dancer who dreams of winning a place at a dance school and becoming a ballet dancer, directed by Nikolai Foster, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, will play at the Shaftesbury Theatre from 27th September. The producer is David Ian.

The Rose Theatre, Kingston production of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, the story of four couples, at different stages in their relationships, whose lives intersect over the course of an evening - with self-assembly furniture as an added complication, with Jenny Seagrove, Daniel Betts, Sara Crowe, Tony Gardner, David Horovitch, Rachel Pickup, Orlando Seale and Finty Williams, directed by Peter Hall, will transfer to the Duke of York's Theatre, opening on 30th March. It will be presented by Bill Kenwright, Thelma Holt and Howard Panter

The spring season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds will include in the Courtyard Theatre: the world premiere of The Count Of Monte Cristo, adapted by Joel Horwood from Alexandre Dumas's adventure story of a wrongly imprisoned aristocrat following the French Revolution, with Polly Frame, Tilly Gaunt, Pieter Lawman, Daniel Rigby, Oliver Senton and Duncan Wisbey, directed by Alan Lane, opening on 22nd April; and in the Quarry Theatre: Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman, the story of a small time travelling salesman with a blind belief in the American Dream, who, despite his lack of success, tries to force his failed ambitions and values onto his unwilling sons, with Marion Bailey, Nick Barber, Tomm Coles, Christopher Ettridge, Philip Jackson and Lex Shrapnel, directed by Sarah Esdaile, opening on 5th May; and Noel Coward's Hay Fever, the story of a weekend at the country retreat of a bohemian actress, her writer husband, and their two adult children, all of whom behave extravagantly badly in front of their mystified house guests, with Maggie Steed, directed by Ian Brown, opening on 16th June.

On The Casting Couch: David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker will be joined by Stephen Campbell Moore, Jemima Rooper and Daniel Lapaine in Arthur Miller's All My Sons, opening at the Apollo Theatre on 27th May; and Roger Allam, Oliver Cotton, Paul Rider, Jade Williams, Sean Kearns and Christopher Godwin, have joined the cast of Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, opening at Shakespeare's Globe on 14th July.

The Headlong Theatre Company/Curve Leicester's contemporary staging of Oscar Wilde's Salome, based on the Biblical tale about King Herod's step-daughter, who performs the dance of the seven veils in return for the head of John the Baptist, with Con O'Neill, Zawe Ashton, Jaye Griffiths, Tom Byam Shaw, Vyelle Croom, Sam Donovan and Seun Shote, directed by Jamie Lloyd, will open at Hampstead Theatre on 24th June.

Perhaps shamed by the announcement of the live streaming of the presentation of the Laurence Olivier Awards, given by the Society Of London Theatre, from the Grosvenor House Hotel on 21st March, BBC Radio 2 has announced that it will broadcast a special live programme from Grosvenor House, hosted by Paul Gambaccini, from 8pm to 10pm. The full list of nominations, a video of the nominated shows, and the voting form for the new People's Award, can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite.

The 2010/2011 season at the Barbican will include The Infernal Comedy: Confessions Of A Serial Killer, written and directed by Michael Sturminger, based on the story of the Californian serial killer Jack Unterweger, performed by John Malkovich; the National Theatre of Scotland's new version of J M Barrie's Peter Pan, by David Greig, directed by John Tiffany; Gyorgy Kurtag's opera Kafka Fragments, with Dawn Upshaw and Geoff Nuttall, directed by Peter Sellars; Robert LePage with The Blue Dragon, a multimedia sequel to his epic The Dragons' Trilogy; Toneelgroep Amsterdam performing stage adaptations of the Antonioni films L'Avventura, La Notte and L'Eclisse; Cheek by Jowl's Russian ensemble in Shakespeare's The Tempest; Peter Brook's new adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute; and the return of Gregory Burke's Black Watch, based on interviews with former soldiers of the Blackwatch regiment who served in Iraq, directed by John Tiffany; and Complicite's Shun-kin, a tale of devotion, passion and power, directed by Simon McBurney; plus 'outside the bunker' site specific stagings in Bethnal Green of You, Me, Bum Bum Train a fairground style interactive experience in the LEB building, and Frantic Assembly's production of Bryony Lavery's Beautiful Burnout, in which aspiring young fighters learn the art of boxing, at York Hall.

Chalkfoot Theatre Arts will stage Riddle Of The Sands, adapted by Philip Dart from the novel by Erskine Childers, with Matthew Brown and Tom Micklem, directed by Philip Dart, at Jermyn Street Theatre, from 5th May. It is a The Thirty Nine Steps style stiff upper lip British picture of the period immediately preceding the First World War.